Signature Programs

Middle School


All Upper School students meet twice daily in a small advisory group, co-led by two faculty members. Advisors will watch over and foster the social, emotional, and academic growth of their students, acting as personal, in-school advocates and coaches. Daily morning and afternoon advisory provide time for students to organize their work and for advisors to check in with their students. Weekly advisory blocks, held on Wednesday mornings, engage students in a mindfulness curriculum and other social and emotional skill-building activities. Advisors also serve as a first point of contact for parents, partnering proactively to ensure all students are fully engaged and thriving in the IDEAL community.


ArtBeat is IDEAL’s annual art show and film festival, with school-wide exhibits of our students' creative endeavors displayed throughout both school buildings. Each spring, as the school year begins to wind down, our community takes the time to reflect upon and celebrate all that our students have accomplished throughout the year in the visual art department at IDEAL. All students in visual arts classes showcase a body of work, and students who participate in stop-motion labs have a film in the festival. IDEAL families tour our school art gallery as students highlight the motivation and techniques behind their work. Our authentic, gallery-opening style approach to ArtBeat provides an opportunity for students to display their skills and work, and student creations reflect each artist's creative spirit, courage, tenacity, and unique style of expression.

Common Sense Media Supporter School

IDEAL is an official Common Sense Media Supporter School. Common Sense Media a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children thrive in a world of media and technology by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of technology as a positive force in their lives. Common Sense Media provides professional development and resources for faculty and weekly tips for families to provide guidance for navigating and engaging with today’s social media in a safe and productive way.

Community Time

Student-led assemblies occur bi-weekly, on alternate Thursdays after lunch, and alternate with club time in our schedule. Assemblies will include eighth grade IDEAL Talks, announcements, and presentations by outside speakers. On the first day of school, we will run a special schedule, including an assembly in which students will learn about opportunities to propose and lead clubs and to run for student council. Community Time (formerly known as Town Meeting) occurs on Wednesday afternoons and is focused on our diversity and ability curricula and on our social justice programming.

Diversity Curriculum

Our unique Diversity Curriculum is a core component of multicultural education at IDEAL. IDEAL’s Diversity Curriculum gives students the critical thinking skills they need to solve problems in their own lives, in their local communities, and on a global scale, through the following programs and instruction.

Eighth Grade Civil Rights Journey and Capstone Project

Students engage in this Civil Rights Journey to the South in the spring of their eighth grade year as a capstone to their study of civil rights issues and activists throughout their Middle School years. To prepare for the trip, each student selects an area of interest to research, which students will then document and blog about when they visit related sites. Over the course of this multi-day trip, students travel to places such as Alabama, Georgia, and/or Atlanta, where they will have opportunities to stand in the places where history happened, walk in the shoes of America's civil rights leaders, and speak to those who were involved. Doing so will strengthen students' experience and understanding of our country's history, as well as what it means to be powerful agents of social change, to a higher level. Finally, upon returning, students work in groups to create documentary films synthesizing themes from their experiences. These films are shown in a final teach-in before the students complete their Middle School experience at IDEAL.


TedTalks are all about sparking curiosity and celebrating ideas, and IDEALTalks bring this same spirit to IDEAL by providing a platform for our students to investigate, research, consider, and present their own creative ideas, while simultaneously supporting students in developing 21st century communication skills. All IDEAL eighth graders explore a topic of interest and present a new idea, argument, invention, or solution to address an existing problem or concern. After drafting and rehearsing their presentations, students present an eight- to ten-minute speech during an Upper School Assembly. Just as in professional TedTalks, students incorporate video and slides into their presentations. Eighth graders have explored a variety of topics, from women in religion, photography, and basketball, to the power of slam poetry and the mistreatment of New York City's carriage horses.

One Schoolhouse

IDEAL is a member of One Schoolhouse, an online educational community dedicated to transforming education through professional development, exceptional resources for educators, and coed and single-sex courses for boys and girls that model the values, interpersonal relationships, and critical-thinking skills the member schools emphasize in their face-to- face classes.

Through our membership in One Schoolhouse, we expand our Middle and High School course offerings and provide professional development for faculty in 21st century learning. One Schoolhouse electives include courses such as Psychology, Latin 1, Marine Science, and This I Believe: Activism in the Age of Disenfranchisement and Extremism. Through One Schoolhouse, IDEAL is also able to offer Advanced Placement (AP) classes, including AP Spanish Literature & Culture and AP Music Theory, to students who meet the course prerequisites.

1:1 Laptop Program

IDEAL’s 1:1 laptop program in the Middle and High Schools provides equips each student with a Chromebook to foster productivity, research, and organization and to instill in our students the creativity, digital literacy, and communication and collaboration skills needed for success in the 21st century.

As a result of our 1:1 laptop program, technology is integrated throughout IDEAL’s program. Students develop persuasive presentations on Prezis and PowerPoint, produce stop-motion animation films and videos for class projects, and do original research for our Civil Rights Museum. Students collaborate to compose papers, peer-edit drafts, and share notes and knowledge using Googledocs. Finalsite, our Learning Management System, allows students to review assignments and course documents online and extends learning beyond the classroom as students and faculty continue classroom conversations electronically through blogs and other social media.

IDEAL’s Responsible Use Policy and Honor Code provide the foundation for monthly conversations about digital literacy in advisory. IDEAL is also partnered with Common Sense Media and is an official Common Sense Supporter School. As a result of our partnership, we provide a variety of trainings and resources on digital literacy for faculty, families, and students about using social media and digital tools ethically and productively.